What’s the top source of clients for just about every business? Referrals.
When we ask our 1,600 members what’s important to you about your membership, referrals is always one of the top three reasons for belonging.
One of the primary roles of your chamber is to provide you with the tools you need to maximize your referral marketing efforts. Those tools come in a variety of ways, from face-to-face networking events like Business Expo and Executive Connection to referrals from our website to yours. Last year the chamber’s website was responsible for over 540,000 referrals to our member businesses. Our information specialists at the chamber and welcome center provide over 17,000 referrals each year on behalf of our members.
Research shows that 41% of organizations count on referrals for over 80% of their business. Many businesses have a written plan for their overall marketing efforts, but would be hard-pressed to produce a plan or list of measurable goals for their referral marketing success. It’s about more than attending a Business After Hours event, it’s about knowing how to effectively build relationships and turn prospects into clients.
A few ideas to consider:
Be referable. Sounds basic, but it’s the cornerstone of building your business. Researchers predict that in the next four years 30% of all Internet users will be passing along their opinion on everything from travel to local insurance providers. Make sure your product and service are top-notch and worthy of referral.
Understand it’s a two-way street. We often look through the lens of “what’s in it for me?” but time spent referring other businesses to your fellow chamber members can benefit your organization too. It simply means that if you’re referable, they’ll return the referral favor your way whenever possible.
Maintain your relationships. Networking is first and foremost about building relationships. Handing out your business card only scratches the surface of this important skill. To be successful, you have to work hard at growing and maintaining relationships. People buy from people they like with products that benefit their business. It really is that simple.
Nothing pleases me, or your chamber team more than hearing about a member whose business has grown through their involvement and membership with the chamber. We’re here to open doors for you and your business. Maximize your membership and build your bottom line through referral networking.
Have a terrific week!